1955 By Alice Walker Term paper

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History of Rock and Roll
History of Rock and Roll INTRODUCTION Rock and Roll started after the year 1955 with its roots being in Blues, Gospel, and Jazz. ...
Elvis Presley was an important figure in popular music and culture at this time in the 1950?s ;Willie Mae Thornton represents personal, artistic, and ethical values admired by Walker. The author bases her characters, Traynor and Gracie Mae ?Little Mama? Still, on these real people but abandons biographical accuracy to amplify the symbolic meaning of each character. In this process, Elvis becomes an interloper destroyed by stealing what he does not understand. The Thornton character is poor but authentic,
History of rock and roll
page 1 INTRODUCTION ...
and she succeeds as a person even though her career flops. Thus each character stands for an idea that helps develop the theme of being true to one's self. Examining how Walker turns Elvis and Thornton into fictional characters provides insight into her creative method. The most casual reader will note similarities between Traynor and Elvis. Like Elvis, Traynor gives away Cadillacs and houses. The character serves in the army in Germany. He is a singer who performs to screaming
teenagers and punctuates his songs with a "nasty little jerk ... from the waist down." Also, "his hair is black and curly and he looks like a Loosianna creole." Traynor even has a manager who resembles Elvis's Colonel Parker, and the character lives in a grand mansion much like Graceland. Walker's Gracie Mae Still is based on the blues and rock singer, Willie Mae Thornton. In the story, Gracie sells Traynor a song for $500 ;his version of it, which
Dudley Randall's Life and Career
align="center">Naomi Long Madgett Poet, publisher, editor, and founder of Broadside Press. Dudley Randall was born 14 January 1914 in Washington, D.C., but moved to Detroit in 1920. His first ...
was very closely patterned on hers, becomes a hit and triggers his rise to fame. In 1956, Elvis recorded "Hound Dog" on the RCA Victor label. "Big Mama" Thornton had released the same song in 1953 for Peacock. The similarities are so STRIKING. The character Gracie Mae both wrote and recorded the song that Traynor bought and remade. Although Willie Mae Thornton recorded "Hound Dog," Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, a team that created many more hits for Elvis and
Comedy, Part 2 (1929-1959)
In 1927 Warner Bros. released The Jazz Singer, a silent drama with sound sequences in which Al Jolson sang and spoke. The film was a hit, and within two years ...
other rock performers, wrote it. Thus, Gracie Mae, her song, and Traynor connect in a way that Elvis and "Big Mamma" Thornton never did. Gracie, as narrator of the story, tells of once fighting blues singer Bessie Smith to keep her from taking the song. Smith is portrayed as a famous contemporary of Gracie. Since the real Smith died when Thornton was 10 years old, Bessie and Gracie could not realistically have fought over a song, and therefore are friends
Warner Bros.
The Warner family immigrated from Poland to Baltimore in 1883 and for several years traveled around the United States and Canada before finally settling in Youngstown, Ohio. Of the twelve ...
only in fiction. Several times in "Nineteen Fifty-five," Traynor ponders the meaning of Gracie Mae's song. He first complains, "I've sung it and sung it, and I'm making forty thousand dollars a day offa it, and you know what, I don't have the faintest notion what that song means." At later meetings
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